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40 minutes | Jan 7, 2022
Horticulturati: Designing for Maintenance & "The Soul of a Farmer"
Happy New Year! We’re back from vacation with a discussion of a book that is very much in the Horticulturati wheelhouse, The Know Maintenance Perennial Garden. Author Roy Diblik, a Wisconsin-based designer and plantsman, argues that anyone can build a “design-magazine-worthy garden at home” by thoughtfully combining perennials to form functional plant communities that need little more than an annual mow – almost no irrigation, mulch, or hand-pruning required. This low-maintenance method could be a revelation for residential and commercial landscapes alike, but can it work in Texas, with our balmy winters and scorching summers? Is there a way to implement the mowing-for-maintenance concept using electric, rather than gas, machines? Colleen is inspired to experiment as she redesigns her front yard. Next, we review a documentary short, The Soul of a Farmer, by filmmaker Roger Sherman. Chef-turned-grower Patty Gentry of Early Girl Farm rents three acres in Long Island from Isabella Rosselini (!!!), who calls Patty “the Picasso of Vegetables.” Sidestepping many of the tropes of farm-to-table docs (Gentry admits she’d probably be living out of her truck if it weren’t for her spouse’s financial support) this film paints an honest portrait of the struggles and small victories of one artisanal vegetable grower as she transitions from wholesale growing for restaurants to a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) model. Food porn ahead! If you’re SERIOUS about gardening, join our Patreon at $5/month and get bonus “in the weeds” content from this episode, video classes, and early access to the show! In this edition of the bonus, Colleen shares her plant list for the front yard, and the mulch conundrum continues. We’re talkin’ hydrophobic crustiness, the virtues of leaf mold versus pine straw, and so much more! Email firstname.lastname@example.org or leave us a message on the Horticulturati Hotline at 347-WAP-HORT. Photo credit Patrice Casanova/First Run Features
69 minutes | Nov 30, 2021
Horticulturati: Growing a Vision with Barton Springs Nursery
If you have a passion for plants, you probably love plant shopping. Our local garden centers are more than just a place to source nursery stock; they’re a designer’s trove of botanical information and inspiration. After untold hours spent perusing the grounds of Barton Springs Nursery, we finally sat down for a chat with two of the new owners, designer Amy Hovis and horticulturist Willy Glenn. Founded in 1986 by Bernardine and Conrad Bering, Barton Springs Nursery is an Austin institution. Into a drab '80s landscape of photinias, nandinas, and boxwoods, the Berings introduced wild plants from seed and cuttings -- salvias, mallows, bunchgrasses, and palms -- and helped to pioneer the city's vibrant gardening scene with an emphasis on sustainability, native plants, and local expertise. After 35 years, the Berings retired in January 2021 and sold the store to Hovis, the owner of Eden Garden Design; Glenn, the former manager of the nursery; and Greg Thomas. Since then, they've added an event space, revamped the grounds, and adopted two new mascots: a kitten named Fern, and a tortoise named Fig. Hovis and Glenn say their goal is to make the "new" BSN the best nursery in Texas (at the very least). We talked about new propagation experiments coming down the pike, the catastrophic winter storm in February, and how the pandemic has ushered in an unexpected gardening renaissance. Please join our Patreon for early access to episodes and bonus content - including several classes on landscape design! Email us at email@example.com or dial the Horticulturati Hotline at 347-WAP-HORT. Mentioned in this episode: Know Maintenance by Roy Diblik (2014); Leersia oryzoides; Melica mutica
73 minutes | Oct 29, 2021
Horticulturati: Garden Design Part II
A year ago, we recorded a long and rambly episode on garden design. Now we're making it an October tradition! Revisiting the subject, we realize our approaches to design have changed, but we're still hell-bent on questioning basic tenets. How important is color? Are foundation shrubs necessary? Should we flip the script on "seasonal interest?" Does "timesharing with plants" really work? Join us at the picnic table as we parse out some jargon (form, texture, verticality), swap tips, and get hangry for cookies. Mentioned in this episode: Five Seasons: The Gardens of Piet Oudolf (2017) and Planting in a Post-Wild World by Thomas Rainer and Claudia West (2015).
70 minutes | Oct 4, 2021
Horticulturati: Dividing & Multiplying Plants
When you have too many plants, it's time to make more! That's gardener logic for you. Fall is a great time to divide perennials and save seeds - but how? We dig into these methods of backyard propagation and again give you permission to be ruthless and/or lazy in the garden. Go ham on that root ball! Let the veggies bolt! Plants can handle it. Up first: Leah has a design question and Colleen scours the streaming platforms for Monty Don. Please join the Horticulturati on Patreon! Mentioned in this episode: Monty Don; "How to Divide 45 Favorite Perennials" and "Three Simple Ways to Divide Plants" from Garden Gate Magazine; The Complete Guide to Saving Seeds by Robert Gough and Cheryl Moore-Gough. www.horticulturati.com
71 minutes | Sep 2, 2021
Horticulturati: Cleveland and the Cuyahoga River Fires
Fresh off a hometown visit to Cleveland, Colleen brings us the story of the Cuyahoga: a river once so polluted with industrial sludge, it burned. At least thirteen times. While the largest and most damaging conflagration occurred in 1952, it was the 1969 river fire that made national headlines, thanks to Mayor Carl Stokes. As one of the first Black mayors of a major American city, the charismatic and media-savvy Stokes connected the dots between economic inequality and environmental degradation, and advocated on the national stage for legislation that would clean up the “urban environment,” starting with the Cuyahoga and Lake Erie. Today, the pristine Cuyahoga is a symbol of pride for Clevelanders, yet this civic success story belies the reality of ongoing inequality there. Colleen shares her personal history of growing up in “a city with no superlatives,” her own chance connection to Stokes, and how she’s begun parsing the difference between “environmentalism” and “environmental justice.” Also, Leah shares an update on the so-called Mystery Seeds from China. Visit our website for more info. Support The Horticulturati on Patreon for bonus content and early access to episodes. Mentioned in this episode: “The Truth Behind the Amazon Mystery Seeds” by Chris Heath (The Atlantic, 7/15/21); Burning River Pale Ale; The Good Time III boat; The Mayor and The People: Carl B Stokes (album by Oliver Nelson); “Carl B. Stokes and the 1969 River Fire” (National Parks Service); “The Cities: The Price of Optimism” (Time, 8/1/69), “The Myth of the Cuyahoga River Fire” (Distillations Podcast, Science History Institute); “Bringing Back Trees to ‘Forest City’s Redlined Areas to Help Residents and the Climate” (NPR, 6/23/21).
56 minutes | Aug 17, 2021
Horticulturati: A Gardener's Guide to Honeybees (Part 2)
At long last, here's the second installment of our bee-stravaganza! Leah interviews beekeeper Tara Chapman, owner of Two Hives Honey, about the intricate connection between bees, plants, and weather. Then, your hosts discuss how to be a good steward to honeybees--and native bees and other pollinators as well. Even if you're not a beekeeper, there are many things you can do (or not do) to be a friend to the bees! Mentioned in this episode: Instagram's @mr.mrs.beeRescue and @theinnocentgardener (beekeeper Sam Dula); Honey and Venom by NYC beekeeper Andrew Coté.
51 minutes | Jul 19, 2021
Horticulturati: Gardener's Guide to Honeybees (Part I of II)
Enter the hive with us for another classic critter topic: BEES! We recorded so much on bees that we have to split this bee-nanza into a two-parter! In part one, Leah suits up for a tour at Two Hives Honey in Manor, Texas, and investigates honeybee ecology. In part two, we’ll focus on how, as a gardener, you can support our honey-making friends (along with native bees and other pollinators). What are honeybees? Why do they live in boxes? And how did Apis mellifera, just one of tens of thousands of bee species in the world, become so ubiquitous in our gardens? We’ll answer these questions and more with the help of professional beekeeper Samantha Dula. Mentioned in this episode: The Beekeeper’s Bible by Richard A. Jones and Sharon Sweeney-Lynch; and Bee City (1951), a short film about honeybees narrated by sportswriter and amateur naturalist John Kieran.
68 minutes | Jun 3, 2021
Beyond Permaculture with Cassiopeia Farm
Welcome to Hothouse Season 2! If you follow any flower farmers on Instagram, the romance may be all too tempting: picture yourself quitting the city, fixing up an old farmhouse, and spending your days harvesting flowers and arranging bouquets on a ten-acre homestead. Now imagine doing that in a fire-prone, flood-prone, deer-pressured, rapidly developing portion of Austin without access to well water or an agricultural property tax exemption. Sam Eberhardt and Dan Poole are farming on the razor’s edge, doing everything the hard way, and still somehow managing to make the dream look absolutely fabulous. In this episode, we take a walk behind the scenes of Cassiopeia, a flower farm and orchard dedicated to ethical land stewardship, wildlife conservation, and “beyond organic” principles. Sam and Dan discuss the structural obstacles faced by small farms, their commitment to regenerative agriculture, and their “shotgun approach” to rolling with the punches of climate change. Check out Cassiopeia Farm's farm-to-table CSA, the Best Buds Club, find their flowers at Austin Flower Company, Salt and Time, and Confituras, and follow them on Instagram. This interview was recorded in February 2019. Drop me a line! Music by Moonsicles.
66 minutes | Apr 23, 2021
The Horticulturati: Owl Hours
Springtime is owl time. Owlets be hatching. Fledglings be fledging. Owl cams be streaming. Enter, with us, the kingdom of the night, as we celebrate these mysterious and beautiful birds. Drop us a line at www.horticulturati.com or call the Hotline at 347-WAP-HORT. Please join our Patreon! Mentioned: Merlin and Minerva's website, Instagram, and live Twitch stream; Austin Birds on Facebook; “Why is the owl considered a wise bird in the West and a symbol of foolishness in India?” (Times of India, Oct 3, 2004); “All About Owls” online presentation from the Austin Nature and Science Center by Mary Beck (Nov 14, 2020 -- ALSO please excuse us for calling it the Austin Science and Nature Center, that was incorrect); Athena the Great Horned Owl at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center; Owl Shack screech owl boxes.
93 minutes | Mar 2, 2021
Horticulturati: Thawing Out
On this Horticulturati, we return from hiatus with tales of the Snowpocalypse -- or Snowmageddon, Snowvid, whatever you want to call it -- to document the record-breaking winter weather that broke Texas' electric grid and ushered in a scary new climate reality for the plants and people of the Lone Star State. Your hosts discuss personal trauma, a jumble of conflicting post-freeze plant advice, and a bunch of anecdotes about what worked and what didn't in preparing our gardens and ourselves for an unprecedented 144 consecutive hours of below-freezing temps in Austin. Visit us at horticulturati.com Subscribe to our PATREON! Mentioned in this episode: Aggie Horticulture Facebook page videos; City Council Member Greg Casar; Resolution Gardens
52 minutes | Nov 29, 2020
The Horticulturati: Five Seasons Total Landscaping
Autumn has come to Texas at long last! To celebrate, we watched the documentary Five Seasons: The Gardens of Piet Oudolf (2017) by Thomas Piper, and we're now officially card-carrying Piet stans sporting Dutch accents, asymmetrical haircuts, and scythes. We discuss Oudolf’s “mathematics” of design, seasonal ambience, and the art of garden editing. How might we translate Oudolf's temperate palate to the not-so-temperate climate of central Texas? Drop us a line at horticulturati.com or a leave a voicemail at 347-WAP-HORT. Here’s where you can rent the movie: https://shop.fiveseasonsmovie.com/product/single-viewer/ Mentioned in this episode: Oudolf designs at Hummelo; Hauser & Wirth; the Lurie Garden; the High Line; Planting Design: Gardens in Time and Space by Piet Oudolf and Noel Kingsbury; Medicinal Plants of Texas by Nicole Telkes; and Coopers BBQ in Llano.
121 minutes | Oct 7, 2020
Horticulturati: Garden Design
On this mega-episode of the Horticulturati, we’re tackling garden design--our approaches, our anxieties, and our gripes about “expert” sources of mystifying advice and misleading photography. Garden design books are rife with the jargon of art theory. How well does this translate to the living medium of plants in the landscape? Google Image Search puts pictures of every plant imaginable at our fingertips, which is great...but also not so great. Hashing it out at length, we agree on some basic aesthetic tenets, then throw the rest out the window. Maybe it all comes down to climate, maintenance, and solving problems with plants. First up, Leah describes a real-life botanical nightmare that sends her down memory lane. Last, Colleen shares a listener letter from a Buckeye gardening in the southwest. Leave a voice message on the new Horticulturati Hotline! The number is 347-WAP-HORT. Or drop us a line on our website. Mentioned in this episode: The Mysteries of Harris Burdick by Chris Van Allsburg, here’s the illustration Leah’s referring to, and her 1991 home video of her interview with Chris Van Allsburg; Landscapes in Landscapes by Piet Oudolf; Gardens of Japan by Tetsuro Yoshida, and his excellent illustration of balanced grouping of stones; Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands and Beyond Volume 2 by Brad Lancaster; Texas Wildscapes by Kelly Conrad Bender.
77 minutes | Aug 23, 2020
The Horticulturati: Armadillos!
Turtle rabbit. Shell possum. Roadkill. Whatever you call it, the nine-banded armadillo is a mysterious, ancient, and unfairly maligned mammal. Find out everything you ever wanted to know (and more) about this Texas icon. Leah traces the armadillo’s bizarre migratory history, its role in medical research, and its rise as a symbol of the Austin music scene. We’ll bust some armadillo myths, meet some famous champions (including naturalist Roy Bedichek and artist Jim Franklin) and discuss the intractable problem of armadillos in the garden. So, spark up a spliff and fill your pantyhose with worms! The next time one wreaks havoc on your flowerbeds, you may just have a little more appreciation for this humble critter. Songs: “Dead Armadillo Song” by the Lost Gonzo Band; “Spanish Moss” by Doug Kershaw; “Armadillo Stomp” by Commander Cody & the Lost Planet Airmen; “You Look Like the Devil” by Willie Nelson; “London Homesick Blues” by Gary P Nunn; “Beautiful Texas Sunshine” by Doug Sahm. Here’s a Spotify playlist. Mentioned in this episode: Pink Fairy Armadillo; Adventures With a Texas Naturalist by Roy Bedicheck; The Amazing Armadillo by Larry L. Smith and Robin W. Doughty; The Armadillo World Headquarters: A Memoir by Eddie Wilson Jessie Sublett ; The Improbable Rise of Redneck Rock, by Jan Reid; “The Rise and Fall of the Armadillo World Headquarters” doc; “Poster Art of the Armadillo World Headquarters” doc ; A Poem is a Naked Person, a film by Les Blank; Franklin’s story about “You Look Like the Devil” told on Pick Up The Tempo podcast; “Armadillo Man,” (The New Yorker, 1971). Managing Armadillo Damage (Texas A&M Agrilife Extension).
80 minutes | Jun 26, 2020
The Horticulturati: Crap(e) Myrtles & Cushaw Squash
Hothouse is returning from hiatus! From here on out this podcast feed will be all Hothouse, so if you want to keep hearing The Horticulturati, please subscribe to that feed HERE (for Apple Podcasts) or HERE (for Spotify). Crape myrtles are blooming all over the place and Leah is DISGUSTED. What’s triggering this Lagerstroemiaphobia? Perhaps it's not about the crape myrtles at all, but rather the lingering demons of her past in exurban hell. Next, Colleen reports on a storied gourd that vine borers can’t touch: the cushaw squash. Domesticated some time around the dawn of agriculture, the obscure cushaw took on special significance to African American foodways as a “slave food” staple. We discuss plants and memory, the merits of “folklore,” and the importance of heirloom seeds as “living archives” of cultural information. Happy belated Juneteenth! See photos of Colleen’s cushaw plant and drop us a line at www.horticulturati.com. Mentioned in this episode: The Botany Coloring Book; The Crape Myrtle Trails of McKinney; Neil Sperry on topping crape myrtles; Nandina ‘nana”; the “Pool Party Incident” of 2015; Homestead Heart (YouTube); “The Seeds of Survival” (NYT); Kathe Hambrick-Jackson, The River Road African American Museum (Louisiana); Michael W. Twitty, The Cooking Gene by Michael W. Twitty; Farming While Black, by Leah Penniman.
84 minutes | May 17, 2020
Horticulturati: Metamorphosis & Victory Gardens
On this Horticulturati, we bring you stories of adaptation and change. Leah has been studying up on butterfly holometabolism -- that is, complete metamorphosis -- with assistance from her niece, nephew, and Vladimir Nabokov. Colleen describes the history of Victory Gardens, from World War I to the present day, and outlines three ways to start a “pandemic garden” of your own. But first: we revisit the sleeper masterpiece that is the Secret Life of Plants doc (1979), which is only available in bootleg on YouTube. Watch it here. Mentioned in this episode: A color guide to familiar Butterflies Caterpillars and Chrysalides by Josef Moucha; Butterfly Gardening for the South by Geyata Ajilvsgi; Gayata on Central Texas Gardener; photo of a giant swallowtail chrysalis and a monarch chrysalis; Nabokov’s 1948 “Butterflies” essay from the New Yorker; Sebastian’s rescued chrysalis and newly emerged monarch; National Audubon Society Field Guide to Butterflies of North America; A Brief History of Gardening by Neil Fairbairn; Nature’s Garden for Victory and Peace by George Washington Carver; Victory Garden (undated propaganda film); “How to Plant a Victory Garden” (NYT Sunday Style); this article about panic gardening; this article about scallions; and Central Texas Seed Savers. Many thanks to our young lepidopterists in the field, Sebastian and Margot. Get in touch with us on our website.
74 minutes | Mar 22, 2020
The Horticulturati: Music & Plants
Best wishes to everyone! Here is a little plantastic escapism to entertain you. [We recorded this episode on 2/28 and added a little corona check-in intro on 3/21. Episode begins around 4:19.] Can plants “hear” music? What would plant-generated music sound like? On this episode, Leah and Colleen attend “The Secret Song of Plants,” the release party for an album of the same name by music therapist Andrea Cortez. Accompanying Andrea is cellist Henna Chou and… a pothos ivy?!?! Join us as we dive deep into the world of plant music, plant sentience, and philosophy, from the Plant Wave, to The Secret Life of Plants, to Mort Garson’s “Plantasia,” and beyond. Watch the Secret Life of Plants documentary here. More info at our website: www.horticulturati.com. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Our theme song is “Plants” by The Horticulturati House Band. Also mentioned in this episode: “Inside the Spiritual World of Plant Based Instruments” (Vice magazine, 2016); “Data Garden Quartet” at Philadelphia Museum of Art (2012); Multiple intelligences; “Rock or Bach an Issue to Plants, Singer Says” (New York Times, 1971); In Search of … Other Voices with Leonard Nimoy (TV series, 1977) PS. In our research, we found several great podcast episodes on the topic of plants and music and tried not to rehash too much territory. Highly recommend you check out: “Smarty Plants” (Radiolab, 2018); “Plants That Sing” (Twenty Thousand Hertz, 2019); “The Secret Life of Plants” (The Organist, 2018), “Are Plants Listening?” (Sound Meditation Radio, 2020).
51 minutes | Mar 6, 2020
The Horticulturati: Time-Lapse Photography & Arboriculture
How did the invention of time-lapse photography revolutionize our understanding of plants? Leah checks in with Charles Darwin and Barbara Streisand on this subject. Colleen explains how to get certified as an arborist through the International Society of Arboriculture, and brings us up to speed on some Facebook drama. But first, garden updates: it's been a bad year for the roses. Watch the time-lapse videos from the episode at ww.horticulturati.com. Email us at email@example.com. Our theme song is “Plants” by The Horticulturati House Band. Mentioned in this episode: Tree Folks Urban Forest Stewards Program; "The Secret Life of Plants: Visualizing Vegetative Movement 1880-1903" by Oliver Gaycken in Early Popular Visual Culture (Feb 2012); Charles Percy's The Birth of a Flower (1910); The Revolutionary Genius of Plants by Stefano Mancuso; Science in Action: Time Lapse Photography (1964); On A Clear Day You Can See Forever (1970)
49 minutes | Feb 21, 2020
The Horticulturati: Xeriscape and the Hundredth Meridian
Shake off those umbrellas! On episode 2 of The Horticulturati, Austin-based garden designers Colleen Dieter and Leah Churner discuss Central Texas’ mercurial climate. Specifically, the rain. And the lack thereof. Leah explains how longitude is destiny along the Hundredth Meridian (or is it the 98th?), and Colleen examines how “Xeriscape” became “Zeroscape.” But first, a garden update: Leah’s ripping out landscape fabric and Colleen has a misadventure with a skid-steer. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and visit us at www.horticulturati.com. Our theme song is “Plants” by The Horticulturati House Band. Mentioned in this episode: “Austin’s on the Wrong Side of the 100th Meridian,” by Christopher Collins in The Texas Observer, The Years of Lyndon Johnson: Path to Power by Robert Caro, this map of the hundredth meridian; Southwest Gardening by Rosalie Doolittle and Harriet Tiedebohl, and “Gravel in the Garden: The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly” with Elizabeth McGreevy on KLRU’s Central Texas Gardener.
1 minutes | Feb 3, 2020
Introducing The Horticulturati: New episode Feb 7!
Hi Hothouse listeners! Hothouse Season 2 is still in the works, but guess what! I'm launching a spinoff podcast: The Horticulturati! The Horticulturati is a biweekly gardening talkshow I'm cohosting with my friend, and repeat Hothouse guest, Colleen Dieter. We're a couple of "designing women" here to fill you in on the ups and downs of landscaping life and teach each other about horticultural history and sundry fun plant facts. Episode 1 is out February 7! Please subscribe to The Horticulturati by following this link right here. Email us at email@example.com and visit us at www.horticulturati.com.
3 minutes | Mar 12, 2019
Hothouse Season 2 Preview
The upcoming season of Hothouse is devoted to climate change. I'll be talking to activists, artists, farmers, and journalists about the new normal that we face in 2019. How is climate change already affecting our lives? What can we do to limit global warming? And how are each of us reckoning, in our own personal ways, with the future? Stay tuned and stay in touch! firstname.lastname@example.org "Belview" by C. Scott is licensed under CC BY 3.0
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